Pro sports return to the Garden State is moving one step closer to reality.
Here is the Tuesday update from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy:
UPDATE: Professional sports teams in NJ may return to training and even competition – if their leagues choose to move in that direction. We have been in constant discussions with teams about necessary protocols to protect the health and safety of players, coaches, and personnel. pic.twitter.com/yMrCFtSyqY
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 26, 2020
While this marks a giant leap forward, it will be several more weeks before NJ sports betting action really picks up, and that has a lot to do with the leagues themselves.
Pro sports leagues have yet to finalize return plans
Several pro sports teams have New Jersey-based practice facilities. The list includes:
- New Jersey Devils — Newark
- Philadelphia 76ers — Camden
- Philadelphia Flyers — Voorhees
- New York Giants — East Rutherford
- New York Jets — Florham Park
That being said, most pro leagues WHO were put on ice in March have yet to announce their return plans.
No formal announcement is scheduled at this time. But that could quickly change.
Case in point, the NHL is finalizing its restart plans. Regular-season games have been on hold since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioner Gary Bettman is making a formal announcement today about specific plans. The popular theory centers around a 24-team postseason tournament.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will make an announcement regarding the League's Return to Play Plan for the 2019-20 season at 4:30 p.m. ET. https://t.co/94sS1RK5Jl
— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 26, 2020
Sports returning to action may not mean that fans will get to see that action live, though. New Jersey has yet to hit Stage Two of its reopening. Large crowds are still a thing of the past.
What about the NY Giants and Jets and the NFL?
On the other side of the coin, NFL teams are in the best shape. Sure, the 2020 NFL Draft was conducted virtually.
But the coronavirus shutdown has not impacted the regular season as it did with other sports. Whether or not the 2020 kickoff will include fans is another story.
But the good news with today’s news is the Giants and Jets can start practicing (as long as the league approves). Keep in mind, the first preseason game is scheduled for Aug. 6.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys are playing in the Hall of Fame game. Then there are the Giants and Jets, who are scheduled to play Aug. 13 at MetLife Stadium.
NFL training camps open in July.
There appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel for New Jersey sports fans.
And after waiting this long for pro sports to return, what are another few weeks?